Boston Bikes: Making Boston Healthier and Vibrant

Credit: Allyson Koerner

Credit: Allyson Koerner

One of Boston’s Most Prominent Bike Programs 

Bicycling is becoming a popular form of transportation for the city of Boston with help from the Boston Bikes program. 

Instilled by Mayor Thomas Menino, this program is helping Boston become a healthier and more enjoyable city.

“Promoting cycling is an integral part of my vision for making Boston a vibrant and healthy city that benefits all its citizens,” Mayor Menino said in the 2009 year-end Boston Bikes report. “With this vision in mind, I launched Boston Bikes two years ago with the goal of transforming Boston into a world-class bicycling city.”  

The program focuses on improving the five universal bike planning areas: Engineering, Enforcement, Education, Encouragement, and Evaluation.

As a form of alternative transportation, bicycles help with climate change, pollution and illness creating an improved lifestyle for individuals. 

According to Nicole Freedman, director of Boston’s bicycle programs, bikes reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase health. 

“Montreal eliminated 1.3 million kilograms of [greenhouse gas] in five months when they introduced bike share,” Freedman said. Also, “The 10 least bike-friendly cities have 25 percent more deaths due to asthma than the 10 most bike-friendly cities.” 

The League of American Bicyclists (LOAB) climate change and bicycling report states, riding bikes is an efficient way to make shorter trips worthwhile. Half of all trips in the United States are three miles or less and 90 percent of all short trips are traveled in a car. 

“Transportation accounts for 70 percent of the oil used and 28 percent of [greenhouse gas] emissions in the United States,” the LOAB report states.

The Boston Bike Map Credit: City of Boston/Boston Bikes

The Boston Bike Map Credit: City of Boston/Boston Bikes

 With the help of Boston Bikes, the city now has 15 new miles of bike services, along with 500 bike racks and has seen a 43 percent increase in bicycling between 2007 and 2009, the report stated.  

“Riding a bike puts you in touch with your community and deepens your relationship with this great city,” Menino said in the report. 

Biking is also educational and can be a self-esteem booster. 

“It instills confidence in kids at a young age, while also helping to educate them to not rely on cars,” Meghan Cahill, director of communications for the LOAB said. 

Boston Bikes also promotes biking through events such as the TD Bank Mayor’s Cup Professional Criterium, Hub On Wheels, Bay State Bike Week and Bike Friday’s. 

Not only is the city of Boston becoming more bike-friendly, but so is the entire state. According to the LOAB, out of all 50 states, Massachusetts is ranked the 15th bicycle friendly community. The LOAB also gave the state an “A” in enforcement, evaluation and planning of bicycles in the state.   

~Allyson Koerner